Let's Make Robots!

Transmitter of Death!!

Transmitter, Com. Hub

It all started here...


Once again, I set out on a quest to build yet another controller. I don't know what to call it really, transmitter, communications hub, input device, PDA? Oh, it does so much...

The concept is simple, pick out a nice plastic case and back up two trucks --one from Gadget Gangster and one from SparkFun. Dump a metric ton of breakout boards into the box and close the lid. Oh, and make a PCB to connect it all together.

On Board:

  • Propeller Board USB (Gadget Gangster)
  • Net Server (Gadget Gangster)
  • BlueSmirf Bluetooth
  • X-bee
  • DeadOn RTC
  • Lipo and onboard charger
  • On board USB-FTDI-Serial for both Prop and LCD
  • 4 gigs of SD card space (2 cards)
  • IR in and out (for data and "TV remote" --also a TV be gone)
  • 2 PS/2's for Keyboard and Mouse
  • NES joystick connection
  • Video out
  • Dual-boot eeproms 
  • Joystick
  • One bad-ass LCD (Touch, SD card, vid and pic ready, WAV player)


So here lies the beauty of a Propeller... As you may know, props are 8-core chips and allow for true parallel processing. Each of these "brains" within the chip can do whatever you tell it to, independant of all the rest. In this case, I have a dedicated cog that does nothing but serial coms. It sits there, looping away, receiving data as quicly as it comes in and sending data off just as fast. The serial object I use allows for up to 4 UART serials coming off the prop. Because of this feature, the transmitter can not only operate as a "Remote Control" but also as a "hub" --echoing data from one source to another.

Say you have a little bot that used IR to talk to stuff. One could rig-up a FTDI, breadboard and IR led --or-- one could simple hit a button on my transmitter and say, "whatever you get in via BT --send it back out via IR". Same goes for IR to BT or BT to XBee or IR to Xbee. How 'bout netserver to IR or netserver to Xbee. To anything, from anything. Hell yeah.

The highlight of this new TX is obviously the LCD. I have bragged about these screens for a while now and I will keep talking them up... You are getting a 3.2" touch-screen, a full-on microcontroller (I/o, serial, i2c, SD card --a real microcontroller), WAV player, with the ability to display panels, buttons, sliders, text, full graphics, pictures and video. These screens are amazing and even more so at way less than 100 bucks.  This is what I used.

Of course, I can't forget to mention the other reason I like the prop...

Old school video games! I mentioned in the video that I am running 2 eeproms. One contains the "main program" including the code that works with Walter. Flip one switch and restart and you are now running from the other eeprom and it contains code for the Gadget Gangster El Jugador NES Launcher. Games are stored on the SD card and can be pulled up and played directly from the transmitter. A jack for an old-school NES controller exists on one end while a single video-out RCA pokes out of the top. Plug one RCA cable into your tv and you are ready to play:

  • Almost PacMan
  • Almost Tetris
  • Almost Pole Position
  • Almost Dr. Mario
  • and there are many more

One of the videos shows the video games being played...

Yup, this one's a keeper --Wicked happy with this remote...







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Amazing creation I hope to be as good as you someday. Seriously, that's amazingly practical and impressive.